Christmas is my favourite time of year by far! (Except March cus its my birthday month!!) You don’t have to be a believing Christian to get involved in the festivities, its more about being wrapped up in wooly coats and boats, being by cosy fires, eating churros at Winter Wonderland and just being around people that are so happy to be with family and friends! Its a magical time for sure!
What makes it all the more magical is the poeple you spend it with. Its a great time for all families to gather over what we know best – food! But more than family, friends that turn into family. December marks the birthday of one of my dearest friends, my foodie friend and biggest supporter! (insert heart emoji) So, what do a bunch of foodies do around Christmas and birthdays? Festive afternoon tea of course what else!
It was my friend Z’s birthday so as a last minute plan, we headed down to Conrad St James Hotel (part of the Hilton Hotel Group) and tried their Winter Solice Afternoon Tea. It was a lovely day with my favourite people.
The hotel was decked out in white Christmas trees towards the entrance, which made it all the more magical. There was a slight mixup with our booking but the mangement managed to sort it out without an issue, which was very nice of them. We had to wait half an hour but were seated in a quaint little corner of the room where afternoon tea was being served in the Emmeline’s Lounge.
The ambiance was great, live harp players, dim lighting and trees with lighting. We sat down and were waited on by a very young man. We asked about halal food even though we did not preorder, and were informed by said young man that they could provide us halal meat from the kitchen for the afternoon tea. Very happy and excited, we ordered our teas.
Then out came our sandwiches and scones, and to our disappointment they were all veggie. Turned out they didn’t do halal sandwiches and we had to preorder for the halal option, which we didn’t do.
We were all rather annoyed by this as the waiter was adamant that they could give us halal sandwiches (not veggie ones!) – misselling,young man, will get you no where in life! We asked the waiter a number of times and got no response. So, we spoke to the manager who obviously understood our frustrations and dealt with us for the rest of the evening. The on-duty manager, Irosh was absolutely lovely! He looked after us all the way through and made sure we were well catered for.
Onto the food.. We were given 2 savouries to start off with – Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad, and Vegetable Couscous.
Sandwiches were veggie – but nonetheless good sandwiches. Beetroot and Goat’s Cheese, Cucumber and Chive with creme faiche, Smoked salmon and cream cheese, and Aubergine.
If you follow my blogs, you’ll know from every afternoon tea I go to, its the scones that are the make or break for me. So Iroshi got us some warm scones, and fresh clotted cream post-sandwich drama and off we went. 2 types of scones – plain and the other Cranberry and Orange, along with St Clement’s Curd and Clotted Cream. The scones were small in size but size doesn’t matter in this case – they were soft (a little too soft but not bad) but in taste they were perfection. I would have liked them to be a little less crumbly as it was difficult to lather layers of clotted cream without breaking it. Overall scones were a hit! Yay and just like that the day was saved!
But what came next really blew me away – the dessert platter was… well you can just see for yourself!
A mixture of desserts included White Forest Gateaux, Plum and Almond Tart, Double Chocolate Almond Tart, Green apple and Blackberry Mousse, and last but by NO MEANS least the Valrhona Dark Chocolate Wreath. It was all stunning to look at and what’s more it was all delicious. Although at this point I was ready to lie down on the sofa I was on and take a long nap!
Overall, it ended up being a great experience. The service was not great at all to begin with, but once we were being served by the Manager, Iroshi he made sure we were well looked after and saw to our every need and complaint! What started off as really bad customer service ended up as great, he even only charged us for 1 afternoon tea as we weren’t happy bunnies initially. (Usually priced at £49 per person) He sat with us and told us about his family and friends back in Sri Lanka, we exchanged business cards and were buddies by the end of it. He even through in a little birthday treat for Z (even though they spelt birthday wrong but it was cool)
Food – 7 out of 10
Service – 7 out of 10 (Thanks to the Manager, otherwise 2 at most)
Price – 9 out of 10 (as we were only charged for 1 – usually £49 pp, which is a little high for what you were getting)
Atmosphere – 8 out of 10
Experience – 7 out of 10
Overall, giving Winter Solice Afternoon tea at Conrad St James a total TLH score of 7 out of 10.
Address: 22-28 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BH
Halal Status: Halal chicken and lamb upon request within 48 hours.
Closest Station: St James (District and Circle Line)